Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Items benefiting from the relief: Seeds and plants: Treatment of particular types of plant: Trees and fruit-bearing shrubs

Plants, bushes and trees that are normally used in this country for the production of edible fruit are zero-rated. Although, strictly speaking, the law applies only to plants which are themselves of a kind for human consumption, it is considered reasonable, sensible and defensible for the relief to also include plants, shrubs and trees normally used in the UK for the production of edible fruit of a kind used for human consumption and/or animal feeding stuffs.

Policy on trees Over the years, a number of requests have been received to include further varieties of trees eligible for the zero rate of VAT. Our response has always been that it is for the trade to provide the evidence that the varieties are being grown (and are capable of being grown) for fruit production and not just ornamental effect.

Since VAT was introduced, the following additional trees have been accepted as being zero- rated:

  • almond trees (not “flowering almond”) - from September 1981;
  • citrus trees (not ornamental varieties) - from 21st February 1991;
  • bay trees (not ornamental varieties) - from 1st May 1993 provided that:
  1. they are raised as a food product under specific DEFRA conditions;

  2. they are sold in pots or other containers not exceeding 2 litres in volume; and

  3. they have not been clipped, shaped or subjected to topiary to specialise them as ornamentals.

Notice 701/38Seeds and plants contains a list of examples of plants that produce edible fruit and are eligible for zero rating.